There is more than loyalty to Samaready behind Craig Newitt’s commitment to the gun mare in the Group One Newmarket Handicap.
The jockey is convinced he is on the horse to beat.
Newitt is chasing his third Newmarket win at Flemington on Saturday and has an insight into two of his main rivals having won Group One races on the three favourites.
He has been on Samaready in all her starts and is also the regular partner of stablemate and Newmarket favourite Lankan Rupee on whom he won the Oakleigh Plate.
Newitt also won last year’s Newmarket on Shamexpress who is another rival on Saturday and bidding to become the fifth horse to win consecutive Newmarkets.
Newitt has no doubt Samaready is the best sprinter of that trio and hopes for a dry track for her to come to the fore.
“I was always going to ride her. I’ve said all along I can’t put anything between her and the good mare I used to ride, Miss Andretti,” Newitt said.
“I think Samaready has got an unbelievable amount of ability and I still don’t think we’ve seen the very best of her.”
Lankan Rupee, meanwhile, has been dominant in two wins this campaign.
“Lankan Rupee is going probably as good as anything in race at the moment, his form is unbelievable,” Newitt said.
“I think his toughest test on Saturday will be a tough-run 1200 metres but the way he’s going I wouldn’t put it past him.
“But I just think my mare ticks all the boxes. She’s going great, the 1200 metres suits and I think she’ll be very hard to beat.”
Newitt claimed the Newmarket-Australian Cup double in 2007 on Miss Andretti and Pompeii Ruler and also won the Australian Cup in 2006 on Roman Arch and last year’s Newmarket on Shamexpress.
In 2008 and 2009 Newitt won back-to-back Australian Guineas when the race was held on the same day as the Newmarket and Australian Cup.
“I’ve always had a lot of luck on this weekend in the past – my birthday is always around this weekend,” Newitt, who turns 29 on March 10, said.
Newitt rides Foreteller in the Australian Cup (2000m) where his opposition includes Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente and Cox Plate and Australian Guineas winner Shamus Award.
“I think he’ll run a great race,” Newitt said.
“He gets back to Flemington where I think he races best and he’s up to 2000 metres. I think he’s going as well as he was during the spring.”
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